Alistair Irwin

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Sir Alistair Irwin
Born (1948-08-27) 27 August 1948 (age 68)
Dundee, Scotland
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1970-2005
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held 1 Bn The Black Watch Regiment
39 Infantry Brigade
RMA Sandhurst
HQ Northern Ireland
Battles/wars Operation Banner
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Stuart Hastings Irwin, KCB, CBE (born 27 August 1948) is a former Adjutant-General to the Forces in the United Kingdom and Commandant of Sandhurst.

Early life[edit]

Irwin was born on 27 August 1948 in Dundee.[1] He was educated at Lambrook preparatory school, Wellington College and the University of St Andrews, graduating in Political Economy.[2]

Military career[edit]

After university, Irwin was commissioned into the Black Watch as a second Lieutenant (on probation) on 10 August 1970.[3] On 16 February 1971, his commission was confirmed with seniority from 25 July 1969. He was promoted to lieutenant on 25 January 1971,[4] to captain on 25 July 1975,[5] and to major on 30 September 1980.[6]

In 1981 to 1982, he was posted to the Ministry of Defence as General Staff Officer II (Weapons). He was second in command of the 1st Battalion, The Black Watch from 1983 to 1984.[1] On 30 June 1985, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel.[7] In that year, he returned to Ministry of Defence and joined the Directorate of Command Control and Communications Systems (Army). He was also appointed Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, Black Watch in 1985.[1] From 1992 to 1994 he commanded 39 Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland.

In 1997 he was appointed Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst[8] and in 1999 he became Military Secretary. He served as General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland from December 2000 to January 2003 when he was appointed Adjutant-General to the Forces,[9] a post he held until he retired in June 2005.[10] During his tour as Adjutant-General he strongly defended the Future Army Structure, particularly the creation of the Royal Regiment of Scotland from the regiments of the Scottish Division.[11]

Later life[edit]

Irwin is President of the Royal British Legion for Scotland.[12][13]

Honours and decorations[edit]

Irwin was Mentioned in Despatches on 14 April 1987 "in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in Northern Ireland".[14] He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1987 Queen's Birthday Honours.[15] He was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) on 22 November 1994 "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Northern Ireland during the period 1st October 1993 to 31st March 1994".[16] He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2002 Queen's Birthday Honours.[17]

He was honorary Colonel of Tayforth Universities Officer Training Corps from 2006 to 2008.


  1. ^ a b c "Lt-Gen Sir Alistair Irwin, KCB, CBE". People of Today. Debrett's. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Biography: Sir Alistair Irwin". Oxford Leverhulme Changing Character of War Programme. University of Oxford. 2006. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "(Supplement) no. 45196". The London Gazette. 18 September 1970. p. 10347. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  4. ^ "(Supplement) no. 45303". The London Gazette. 12 February 1971. p. 1399. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  5. ^ "(Supplement) no. 46644". The London Gazette. 28 July 1975. p. 9643. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  6. ^ "(Supplement) no. 48360". The London Gazette. 3 November 1980. pp. 15271–15272. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  7. ^ "(Supplement) no. 50204". The London Gazette. 22 July 1985. p. 10106. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  8. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 1998
  9. ^ "(Supplement) no. 56824". The London Gazette. 21 January 2003. p. 719. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  10. ^ "(Supplement) no. 57705". The London Gazette. 19 July 2005. p. 9324. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  11. ^ Army defends regiments shake-up BBC News, 16 December 2004
  12. ^ "NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE". Royal British Legion Scotland. 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  13. ^ Eruma appoints General Sir Alistair Irwin as strategic adviser Info4Security, 22 August 2008
  14. ^ "(Supplement) no. 50891". The London Gazette. 13 April 1987. p. 5016. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  15. ^ "(Supplement) no. 50948". The London Gazette. 12 June 1987. p. 5. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  16. ^ "(Supplement) no. 53855". The London Gazette. 21 November 1994. p. 16321. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
  17. ^ "(Supplement) no. 56595". The London Gazette. 15 June 2002. p. 2. Retrieved 2012-07-31. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Jack Deverell
Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Succeeded by
Arthur Denaro
Preceded by
David Burden
Military Secretary
Succeeded by
Peter Grant Peterkin
Preceded by
Sir Hew Pike
General Officer Commanding the British Army in Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
Sir Philip Trousdell
Preceded by
Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman
Adjutant General
Succeeded by
Sir Freddie Viggers